My new New Year’s tradition — start the new year off wrong. I am not much for making resolutions, although I know they are helpful for some. It is better for me to know what direction I want to be heading, set a goal or two, keep my head on straight in the present. Thus my fresh philosophy of starting from the bottom, make that one mistake or big sin on January 1, start at the bottom and let the year be a one at a time trip up the stairs.
As a Christian, I am someone who believes that each day could be that way. I think that is something everyone understands, even if you don’t believe in God the same way that I do. Putting it into practice, actually living like I believe it, is another story. For me, each day starts with simple prayer, with an emphasis on simple. Thank you is an essential ingredient of each of my prayers, sometimes all that I can pray, but I also try to ask for assistance in trusting — the key to my making it through most days. I need not only to trust God and, yes, to trust myself. That means being willing to accept that I am going to make mistakes, trust that no mistake is going to destroy me, no mistake unforgiveable.
That can change me in so many ways, change my relationships. If I can forgive myself, trust myself and my God to leave each trespass behind, then I have to accept that the same goes for anyone else.
Paul understood that. He wrote about that in his letter to the Christians in Corinth —
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. — II Corinthians 12:9 NIV
I sometimes wonder if that thorn he speaks about, that weakness, involved the standards he set for himself and others. What he wrote before and after the quoted verse seems to say that. Paul had made a mistake, needed to ask forgiveness, admit his weakness and move past it. He was a flawed man, but I think he knew that his weaknesses could make him strong. But I think he also had little tolerance for weakness in others, and overcoming that was difficult for him. That had to change and he knew it. After all, being aware of those weaknesses allowed him to be open to trusting in Christ, to God’s power.
So I start from weakness, knowing that moving on from that makes me strong. That realization seems more realistic to me, allows me to understand myself a little bit better. A New Year doesn’t need to be that year where everything gets better, not if I realize that bad things and good things happen all the time, every year. Really what makes an day, week, month, season, or year good or bad is how I choose it to be. There are going to be blessings, far more than I will ever notice. There are going to be challenges, tragedies, mistakes and most I will be aware of. When I learn to say thanks in everything, trust, then I know I will make it — just like I have up to this point in time.
I wonder where those stairs are taking me? Ever think about that? How many stairs do I have left to climb? Each year that goes by, I take those steps a little slower, rest a little more often, even let others help me up the next one and help someone up their own step.
Start the new year off wrong. I dare you. Let it change you.